Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pursed Lips

I had quite a bit of fabric left over from making the vest (Simplicity strikes again), so I asked my co-worker if she wanted me to make her something else from it.  My suggestion was a matching purse.  We settled on Simplicity 2166, view A.  The lining from the vest (a black satin) was also used as the lining for the purse.

PS: How pathetic is it that I can tell 1/2" at glance from 5/8"?
While this purse is described as a clutch, take a look at the pattern envelope.  It's quite large: 12.5" x 8" (approx 32cm x 20.5 cm).  That's not too much different than a standard sheet of paper.  My guess is that is is only described as a clutch because it does not have a strap.  I imagine that something of this size would be awkward to carry around all night.

As I pinned the pattern on the fabric, it struck me that there was something odd about the seam lines.  I whipped out the trusty measuring tape and it turns out that this pattern uses 1/2" seams rather than the usual 5/8".  I'm not sure why they would deviate from the industry standards here, but there you have it.  Bear that in mind if you sew this one up.

Changes I made:
  • I tripled checked the placement of the closure after the fiasco with the other purse.  Lo and behold, this one wasn't in the right place either, so it had to be moved.
  • This pattern is for a bi-directional fabric, which my brocade was not.  I split the pattern along the fold line and added a seam allowance.
  • Added a strap.  It's just a piece of braided trim.  I found a chain-like trim that would have been perfect, but I was afraid that it would snag on the brocade.  I figured the braid would be stronger and look nicer than a strap of fabric.
  • The instructions for attaching the flap have you sewing through the lining.  Instead, I sewed it on before attaching the lining.
  • Skipped the weird frayed accent.  In fact, we skipped all the accents here.  I think the brocade is fancy enough that is doesn't need adornment.
If I made this again, I would consider a zipper in addition to the magnetic closure.  The opening is pretty big, though the fit is tighter than with the other clutch.  The caveat with magnets and electronics holds here as well.  I think a really big button would look fine here.

Difficulty-wise, how was this?  Pretty simple, but recall that I skipped the adornment.  The brocade might be a little much for a beginner to handle, but this is mostly straight lines.  In a non-slippery fabric, this would probably be a good first pattern.  Just keep the different seam allowances in mind.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Smile When You Say That

This is not a post about sewing.  It also contains harsher language than I typically use on the blog.  You've been warned.

I seem to be plagued lately by people telling me to smile.  This happened to me on pretty much a daily basis when I was a kid and continued until I was sixteen or so.  It only happened to me occasionally after that, and usually in the grocery store, of all places.  It seems to be mostly, but not exclusively, older males.  But these days, it seems to be happening to me quite frequently.  I'm not sure why this is.

It always enrages me when people tell me to smile.  Why should I?  I smile when I chose to.  Just because I'm not smiling, it doesn't mean I'm not happy, and even if I'm not happy, what's the problem with that?  I feel how I feel, and if you don't like it, it's not my problem.  Why should a complete stranger think they have the right to tell me how to act and feel?  I'm not going to pretend to be happy just to please some random asshole.

Other than the annoyance factor in all this, I am never sure what to say to these people.  I have tried a variety of things, including:

  • ignoring the person (doesn't work)
  • telling them not to tell me what to do (I usually get the response "but I wasn't!" - um, yeah you were!)
  • telling them to fuck off/kiss my ass
  • saying "why should I?"
  • and if the person is being particularly nasty, I tell them someone in my family has just died

Does anyone have this problem?  Why does this seem to be mostly males telling me to smile?

Vested Interests

You may recall my frustrations with Simplicity 3629 when I made a vest for my Jareth Halloween costume.  When I wore it to work on THE GREATEST DAY OF THE YEAR, a co-worker of mine liked it so much that she half-jokingly asked me to make her one.  (This happens to me all the time.  I usually say that I will, and the person in question is shocked and says no.  I have no idea why they ask half-seriously in the first place then.  Moving on...)   She also wanted a brocade, but in gold and bronze rather than my silver.  This fabric from JoAnn's is what we went for.  Even their photograph isn't all that great, and mine aren't any better.  The fabric is slightly brighter than it appears in their picture, and there is a greater contrast between the bronze and gold.  I tried this with and without the flash.  The flash made the damn thing look like lame.  The lining is black satin.

My co-worker is a different size than I am, but other than that, the only great difference was that her vest didn't nearly bring me to tears.  I found some grommet tape with gold grommets instead of the standard silver ones.  It wasn't on grosgrain like mine; rather, it seemed like a cotton twill tape, and was a quite a bit narrower and less flexible.  The grommets were also closer together.  The narrowness and dearth of flexibility in the tape made it slightly more difficult to sew on (I always use a zipper foot for this sort of thing, even if it isn't strictly necessary; in this case, it was absolutely necessary).  I don't mean to seem as though this different tape was hard to work with.  It's more that it was just so more different from the grosgrain than I initially expected.  I would not hesitate to work with this tape again, if it provided to be the right choice for the task at hand.

Like my own vest, I finished all the internal edges because brocade and satin love to fray.  Contrary to the instructions on the pattern, I did not leave the strap seam exposed; like I did with mine, I pulled it through and sewed it on the inside (just as one does for a standard vest).  I did skip the under-stitching here because I knew I would end up top-stitching.

Though I didn't think of it when I bought the fabric, I think the finished piece ends up looking quite steampunk.  The ease in the hips would probably be greatly conducive to wearing a bustle and full skirt.  Because this is a beginner pattern, it might be a good place to start if you're new to sewing and want a steampunk costume.

It would have been intelligent on my part to adjust Azzurra to my co-worker's measurements before I put the vest on her.  This did not occur to me until I was halfway done with the lacing.  So that's why it looks so ridiculously loose.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

In the Clutch

A few weeks ago, I posted the (kinda-sorta) pattern review for the overnight bag C Girl won in the Halloween contest.  This review is for the other prize recipient, Melody Brown.  This is the same pattern (Simplicity 2274), but for Melody, I made the clutch purse.  We decided to go with the same sparkly bat fabric that I used for the handles and lining of the overnight bag.  For the lining, we went with a matching green.

The gap is most apparent in the upper right corner
Because the bat fabric is a one-way design (and the purse is folded over on itself twice), I split the outer pattern into three pieces along the fold lines (plus seam lines).  The lining and interfacing were kept as one piece.  This would have worked out perfectly if the fold lines and placement for the closure were in the right place on the pattern.  They weren't.  When I folded over the top and snapped it shut, there was a large gap; it was large enough that car keys and the like could have easily slipped out.

That wouldn't do at all, so I ripped open the top edges.  My intent had been to move the closure and put a patch over the old hole (it was only in the lining, so it would only show when it was open).  But when I folded the purse where the fold should have been, the lip hung over the bottom of the purse.  So much so that I had to cut off the excess, and with that, the old hole for the closure.  So yay, no patch!

Now it came to simply reinsert the closure.  I had been concerned the prongs would be difficult to bend back and forth, but it presented no problems.  I did, however, reinforce the slits with some heavy-duty interfacing.  Due to the stress the closure would be under, I didn't want the closure to pull out of or tear the fabric.

Once I moved the closure, the opening was top-stitched shut.  And when I folded it over:

 voila, the gap has been eliminated.

NB: this purse calls for a magnetic closure.  If you make this and want it to hold your cell phone, MP3 flash drive, etc, you might want to consider a different type of closure, such as a really big button or Velcro.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Return of Jareth

When I revealed my Halloween costume, I mentioned that I planned on the blouse entering my everyday-wear wardrobe.  It wasn't until mid-December that the weather here was cold enough for the blouse (it is synthetic, so it is quite warm), and when it did, it was super cold and windy.  And that sort of weather, my friends, calls for black velvet.

The jacket here is super thin and the sleeves are far too short.  I bought it when I was in grad school at either Ross or Marshalls.  I am almost certain that I paid $7 for it.  I figured that with the ruffles on the blouse would actually work out okay with the too-short sleeves.

The skirt came from a rummage sale for a grand total of fifty cents.  I misread the tag as a size 4 instead of a size 14.  I didn't find that out until I was home, but I figured I could wear it at the hips instead of the waist and it would be fine.  Erm.  No.  I've taken quite a bit of material off the waist and hips, and I think I've finally gotten the skirt to the point where it stays put.

The shoes are the reason for the whole shebang.  My husband's holiday party took place the week prior to me wearing this outfit,  The dress I wore was silver (so, obviously not the dress I wore to my party) and I was planning on wearing opaque black tights.  While I could have worn black heels, I thought silver would look better, so I ran out and bought these the morning of.  I figured that since they were already in my closet, I might as well make use of 'em.

I have plans for both the vest and jacket entering my wardrobe rotation.  It pleases me to make further use of these items.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jareth!

The Goblin King turns 66 today.  Happy birthday, David Bowie, and thanks for the inspiration for my Halloween costume.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year's Eve

Tinker Bell phone to go with Tinker
Bell sweatshirt
The Sophistique Noir theme for this month is New Year's Eve.  I didn't do anything special for NYE; though I was invited to a party, one thing led to another and I ended up needing to go to work on NYD.  Since I had no plans, and also wasn't feeling fantastic, comfort was what I opted for.  That meant jeans, a t-shirt, motorcycle boots, and a sweatshirt (which I embellished).

I purchased this sweatshirt with the intent to embellish it, though I don't remember if I had this particular alteration in mind when I did.  The patches come from Tinker Bell flannel fabric.  I couldn't find a picture of the fabric uncut, but if you click on the pictures, you be able to see more detail.  The pull-string for the hoodie is a set of Tinker Bell shoelaces, which I think came from Hot Topic.

It is really difficult to take a
picture of yourself with your cell
 phone in the bathroom mirror at
I cut the patches in two sizes, using a glass and a glass bowl as templates (since you can see through them, they were easier to align).  If you've never sewn patches on with a machine, it is incredibly difficult to get them to lay flat unless you hand-baste them first.  (Yeah, even with a metric ton of pins holding the patch in place, it is still super hard to get the patch on correctly.  Just trust me and baste your patches.)  After I basting, I went over the edges a couple of times with a zigzag stitch, which stops the fraying.  I've had this sweatshirt for years and I've had no problems with the patches pulling from the stitching.  It was a little tough to get the patches on the sleeves (due to the narrower opening), but I managed to zigzag to my dark heart's content.

Purple hair and pixie earrings
It's a bit difficult to see, but I lined the hood in a different Tinker Bell fabric.  For that, I traced an outline of the hood and added some seam allowance.  I didn't particularly care about the stitching showing (since it was black anyway), so the lining is just top-stitched on.  If I had cared, I probably would have hand-sewn the lining.

As for resolutions, I generally don't make them on New Year's (not that I don't make resolutions; it's just that I don't wait until NY to make and/or carry through with them), but this year, I am resolving to get through a sizable chunk of my fabric stash.  I don't want to aim too high and disappoint myself, so my resolution will be that 75% of my projects for this year will come from the stash.  (I am not including things like buttons or interfacing here; just fashion fabric.)   If I do buy any new fabric, I must have a plan for it in mind other that "squee!  bats/pumpkins/skulls!" (yes, this happens frightfully often).